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Artisan Gingerbread Cottages with Royal Icing

(recipe, Bluebird Farmers Market & CSA)

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With this tried and true recipe for Gingerbread Houses and Royal Icing, Cottage Gingerbread Artisan, Linda Hayward, gave a culinary workshop on the art of baking, assembling and decorating Gingerbread Houses at Bluebird Market. Watch and Learn from Linda: Pretty Gingerbread House at Bluebird Market:


  1. Gingerbread for Houses
  2. 5 and ½ cups all purpose flour
  3. 1 t. baking soda
  4. 1 t. salt
  5. 2 t. ginger
  6. 2 t. cinnamon
  7. 1 t. nutmeg
  8. 1 t. cloves
  9. 1 cup shortening
  10. 1 cup sugar
  11. 1¼ cups unsulphured molasses
  12. 2 eggs, beaten
  13. Royal Icing
  14. 3 level T. Wilton Meringue Powder Mix
  15. 4 cups sifted confectioners sugar (approx 1 lb)
  16. 6 Tbsp. water (less for stiffer icing)


  1. Gingerbread....Thoroughly mix flour, soda, salt and spices.
  2. Melt shortening in large saucepan over low heat until just melted, not hot. Add in order...sugar, molasses and eggs. Mix well. Cool slightly, then add 4 cups dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Turn mixture onto lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining dry ingredients by hand. Add a little more flour, if necessary, to make a firm dough.
  4. If you're not going to make your gingerbread house right away, wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate. Refrigerated dough will keep for 1 week. Be sure to remove it 3 hours prior to rolling so it softens and is workable. You will need 1 recipe of this gingerbread dough to make a Gingerbread House.
  5. After cutting out house, wrap any remaining gingerbread dough in plastic. This extra dough can be used in case of a house crack or to add shutters or other decorative gingerbread to house. Icing can also repair small cracks.
  6. Royal Icing.....Because it dries candy hard and lasts for weeks without softening, this icing is ideal to secure your gingerbread house pieces and decorations.
  7. Before you make icing be certain your utensils and bowl are grease free. Keep icing covered with damp cloth because it dries quickly.
  8. Beat all ingredients at low speed for 7 to 10 minutes until icing forms peaks. This icing can be stored in an airtight container and re-whipped before using. Yield is 3 cups. To give icing decorations a shiny snow effect, add 1 T. corn syrup per 1 cup of royal icing.
  9. For painting a complete wall of your house, thin icing with coloring or water. Pour over gingerbread piece that is placed on a wire rack over a drip pan. Pour evenly to coat and let dry.